Candy melts are widely used to add colors to baked goods and confections. With their coin shape, white-colored base and sweet flavor, they are often confused with white chocolate coins or buttons. How are they different from one another? And which one should you use for your desired application?
Read on to know more about candy melts and how they compare with white chocolate.
What are Candy Melts?
Candy melts are also known as confectionery coating, compound coating or compound chocolate. They are made from sugar, milk solids (powdered milk), vegetable oils, flavorings and coloring. Due to the vegetable oil content and the low price point, candy melts usually have a plain, almost milk-like flavor, or a very sweet taste. They usually have a waxy texture.
They melt well and harden within minutes, which makes them suitable for coating, dipping, and molding. They usually come in a flat coin shape, which makes them melt evenly. They can come in brilliant white or other ready-to-use colors.
What is White Chocolate?
White chocolate is made from sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids, emulsifier, and natural vanilla extract. Unlike other types of chocolate, white chocolate does not contain cocoa solids, which gives milk chocolate and dark chocolate their “chocolaty” and bitter taste.
White chocolate tastes sweet, creamy, and milky. It melts smoothly in your mouth and has a buttery mouthfeel due to its cocoa butter. This type of chocolate is as versatile as others: it can be used for coating, enrobing, molding, decorating, and incorporating them into your cooking and baking to make desserts, baked goods, confections, and beverages.
Well-tempered white chocolate has a glossy surface, a good “snap” when broken, and a smooth mouthfeel when eaten.
Read more: How to Make White Chocolate Ganache
Are Candy Melts the Same as White Chocolate?
Although they look similar to white chocolate, candy melts are in fact not considered real chocolate.
The main difference between candy melts and white chocolate lies in one ingredient: cocoa butter. In white chocolate, cocoa butter is used to give a smooth texture that enables the chocolate to stay hard at room temperature yet melts in your mouth. In candy melts, this ingredient is replaced with vegetable oil such as palm kernel oil. This is done out of several considerations, such as making them easier to use, more true to color, and also more affordable. However, this comes with a few drawbacks.
Here are the differences between candy melts and white chocolate:
Well-tempered white chocolate has a silky smooth texture when they harden, while candy melts have a waxy texture due to the vegetable oil content. This waxy texture can impart an inconvenient aftertaste for some people.
Since candy melts are used for mostly aesthetic purposes rather than for flavoring, manufacturers usually use artificial flavoring to cut down the price. They also tend to have a plain or one-dimensional flavor.
Read more: 5 Signs of High-Quality Milk Chocolate
Because cocoa butter has an ivory or yellowish color, it imparts a pale yellow hue to white chocolate. On the other hand, palm oil is white, and manufacturers usually color their candy melts so they come in these brilliant white or other ready-to-use colors, often bright and vivid colors.
Bonus tip: if you are looking to color your white chocolate, then you will need to add white coloring to neutralize the color and make your additional coloring pop.
Since candy melts use ingredients of lower quality, they are more affordable than white chocolate. This is due to the fact that candy melts use vegetable oil to replace cocoa butter, which is a highly-priced ingredient in the confectionery and pharmaceutical industry. The use of artificial flavoring in candy melts also cut down its price.
5. Melting procedure
Candy melts are easier to use than white chocolate. All you need to do is melt them using a bain-marie or microwave. Meanwhile, white chocolate requires tempering, which is done to stabilize its fat crystals, giving them the smooth and glossy finish they are known for. For more information about tempering, click here.
Candy melts and white chocolate both can be used for coating and dipping. However, candy melts are used for those purposes only, while white chocolate can be used for decorating, flavoring, and other applications.
Read more: Steal This Decadent Nama Chocolate Recipe Here
Should I Use Candy Melts or White Chocolate?
With all the differences between candy melts and white chocolate, we can conclude that if you are looking for a way to bring colors to your goods easily with a more affordable price, and if you don’t necessarily need a product with a great taste, then candy melts is the product for you.
But, if you are looking for a versatile product with great taste and mouthfeel, and you don’t mind taking an extra step to do the tempering process, then white chocolate is the answer.
We recommend our Embassy Zen White Chocolate 33% for its sweet, creamy, and umami taste. Its flavor goes well with even the most out-of-the-box flavor combinations, and its high fluidity makes it excellent for coating, dipping, molding, and decorating.